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Italian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2012   |  11:56 pm GMT  |  238 comments

Lewis Hamilton ignored off-track distractions concerning his future to win his third race of the season in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix at Monza. There were strong drives all the way through the field so who was your Driver of the Day?

Lewis Hamilton

Arrived in Monza amid speculation he was to leave McLaren for Mercedes next season, but showed no signs of it distracting him as he set the pace in second practice on Friday, heading a McLaren 1-2. Looked comfortable with the car in final practice but struggled to keep pace with Fernando Alonso in Q1 and Q2. Hooked together a solid lap in Q3 as Alonso suffered a mechanical problem to take his 23rd career pole. Made a textbook getaway at the start to lead into the first corner and benefited from Felipe Massa leapfrogging team-mate Jenson Button into second. Controlled the race at the front, and stopped just once, to take his third win of the season and move from fifth to second in the drivers’ standings, 37 points behind championship leader Alonso.

Sergio Perez

Failed to replicate the pace Sauber showed in Belgium Grand Prix qualifying at Monza a week later and ended up 12th on the grid. The result worked in the Mexican’s favour as by missing out on the top 10 shoot-out, he could adapt his strategy for the race. Decided to start on the harder compound tyre, while all around him chose the option, which allowed him to go deep into the race before stopping. Pitted from the lead of the race and rejoined eighth before utilising the fresher option tyres, on a lighter fuel load, to climb through the field. Overtook the likes of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso on his way to second – his third podium finish of the season.

Fernando Alonso

Looked strong in Friday practice in front of his home fan and proved for the first time this season that the Ferrari has single lap pace in the dry by finishing quickest in both Q1 and Q2. A broken anti-roll bar in Q3 ended his hopes of getting pole and he qualified 10th. The Spaniard made up five places in the first seven laps to run fifth early on. Was forced off the track by Sebastian Vettel who received a penalty for the move but recovered to later pass the German. Rose to second, but was overtaken by Perez late on and settled for third to increase his championship lead.

Felipe Massa

Was within a tenth of team-mate Fernando Alonso in Friday practice and then delivered his best qualifying of the season to out-qualify Alonso for the first time and start third. Made an electric start to pass Button off the line and tried a move around the outside of Hamilton into Turn One before backing off. Ran second after the pit stops despite losing all his car’s telemetry but dropped off the pace as his tyres began to suffer severe degradations. Finished fourth to equal his best finish of the season but missed out on his first podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen

Showed good long-run pace in Friday practice but lacked the straight-line speed to challenge for the top grid places on Saturday and qualified seventh. Struggled to make progress in the race and actually started to drop down the field. However, a bold decision to run a one-stop strategy, coupled with several retirements, helped the Finn finish fifth. Now scored points in all but one race this season and his result at Monza has lifted him up to third in the drivers’ standings, one point behind Hamilton and 38 behind Alonso.

Michael Schumacher

Used the Mercedes good straight-line speed to his advantage to top the times in first practice before a DRS issue slowed his progress in the second session. A Kers issue hampered his programme in third practice, but he delivered a stunning lap in qualifying to finish fifth fastest – three tenths quicker than team-mate Rosberg. Started fourth after Di Resta’s penalty but struggled on his first set of tyres. Forced to do lots of overtaking because of a two-stop strategy, but showed glimpses of his former self as he battled through the field to finish sixth, closing to within 0.3 seconds of Raikkonen at the finish.


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1

James, I realise this is off topic, but I think it’s topic worth discussing with fans of F1, please post, edit or delete as you see fit 🙂

I’ve been to Monza 4 times now, in 06,09,10 & 12 and whilst I have been witness to many classic moments in motorsport such as the announcement of Schumacher’s first retirement and Hamilton’s GP2 championship clincher. I have to say I’m increasingly disappointed with the track infrastructure and team/ sponsor support. The Fanzone or F1 village this year was less than a third of the size it was 6 years ago, and basically comprised of a series of merchandising stands. Whilst I understand historically a lot of the fan engagement came from automotive manufacturers I think it’s time the sponsors did something to speak to the fans attending race weekends. The likes of Unilever, GSK, Vodafone, AirAsia, Telmex all have significant on car presence but little or nothing at the track. Race attending fans are the perfect target consumer for these companies, why is no effort made to build consumer loyalty? Commenting on Monza itself I don’t understand how the track get escape Bernie’s wrath for having made no investments in the facilities in the entire time I have been attending races at the venue, being the home of Ferrari clearly excuses a lot!

A side comment on the Tifosi, I was horrified this year to see the level of booing and jeering for any driver (including Massa) apart from Alonso. Respect above all is, for me, what differentiates Motorsport from most other sports and in some ways elevates it to a par with the Olympics. The behaviours I witnessed over the weekend did a damage to my perception of this.

2

Agreed that it’s only yobs that boo drivers from rival teams, etc. Applaud and cheer your favourite louder than all the rest, for sure, but acknowledge and respect the achievements of all the drivers, and especially those on the podium.

3

Things are a little tight financially in Italy, that was clear at the weekend.

Interesting to hear your comments on the facilities for fans.

The paddock had a big upgrade a few years ago so that side is up to standard.

4

Let’s see Kobayashi in a McLaren or a Ferrari and then we’ll have another real racer lighting up the race days.

5

PEREZ!

6

Why are so many people demeaning Perez’s result? If it is so easy to get a second place when starting from 12th on new hard tires, why haven’t the Force Indias. Mercedes, and all other second-tier teams been consistently getting on the podium by taking advantage of the rule? Probably because it cannot be done, it also requires a great drive to achieve it.

7

Perez had an astonishing race in Monza also helped by his strategy of Hard and Medium. The medium didn´t suffer at the end of the race as expected due to low fuel and the rubber on the track.

Alonso did also a very good recovery with a great first lap overtaking 4 cars. This race could be really important for the Championship.

8

So Rosberg for Hammy? Macca gets a mature, professional driver, possibly free engines for a few more years. Merc gets an immature, manboy who believes his own hype! Sounds like win- win to me! Do it!

9

Lewis by a mile.

I can understand why people voted for Perez, but I completely don’t agree. Yes, he finished second, but it was not a spectacular amazing finish… he just strated on hards and had the car which is very gentle on tires. If he was in McLaren, Ferrari or RBR – he would not get higher than 5th or 6th.

And overtakings?I already told numerous times – DRS is a joke… plus he was on fresh mediums compared to others on older hards…

10

Perez, what a drive. Also disproves the paranoia that Sauber operate under team orders from Ferrari.

11

I voted for Perez, he drove beyond the car’s capabilities… fascinating drive… even though Hamilton won… he undeniably had the best package for Monza and did justice to the car’s potential… nonetheless, the driver of the day is Sergio Perez.

About Ferrari hiring him? I think they should without further ado… if he is not hired next year and if the Sauber is not a good car… it could demoralise him… I think Massa has had more than necessary window to make his worth asserted for that seat but unfortunately failed.

I think the best seat would be going back to Sauber for Massa. And gauging by Rob Smedley’s pit to car radio which is flat, I think Ferrari has already decided to show Massa the door.

And I read above that no teams wants Hamilton???

I think any team in their sane mindframe would refuse Hamilton a drive. I think the drivers that are already placed in teams are petrified of Hamilton… Like Vettel in Redbull, Alonso in Ferrari… for Hamilton is way faster than these two in any given day… especially after he mastered the Pirellis which he translated in his win in Hungary this year.

The only teams he would be welcomed and their drivers won’t be afraid of Hamilton is Mercedes and Lotus.

I think Kimi must go to Mclaren… they need him back for if Hamilton leaves… they need someone with the pace of Hamilton which is Kimi… Button is modern day Coulthard… he’ll be blown away by Kimi as he is been consistently blown away by Hamilton.

Schumacher to Mclaren??? Now that is the making of another World Champion… Undeniably.

12

How embarassing: Ferrari beaten at *Monza by a customer.

No trickery, no fluke, just… beaten by their own engine.

3-car Monte ought to just buy Sauber and re-badge them.

LOL

13

Err, how about Mercedes/MacLaren? LOL x n .

15

James, 2 questions.

1) any thoughts/views on why the Di Resta incident on Senna went unpunished

2) Theres a few 5 place penalties recently owing to changing a gearbox. What I dont get is why this is so if the teams have to set the gear rations on friday and therefore must open the gearboxes to swap cogs. Surley thhey must notice at that point that the gearbox is on its way out.

16

Yeah, it was a weird one. Senna was behind when Di Resta started moving back to the racing line to take the corner, and then just didn’t brake as hard as Di Resta, ending up beside him. I think Di Resta was playing with fire moving that way and not leaving a car width, and I’m surprised that the incident didn’t even merit a investigation by the stewards.

17

1) Senna was behind, not alongside.

2) Yes, sometimes that happens. They also have sensors all over the thing too giving them data

18

I am surprized Perez is getting so much votes. For sure it was a very good result, but it came mainly due to the strategy the way Sauber is taking car of its’ tyres. He started with hards, stayed out longer than everybody else and finished strongely on the softs, making full use of the Sauber car being gentle to the tyre. The overtakes he made were nothing special, as those he overtook had much older tyres.

My vote goes to Alonso. He have had all kinds of problems in practice and qualifying, limiting his running. Made the podium from 10th, despite having the regular tyre strategy, being stuck behind VET for many laps and managing the damage to the car that he had after being off track at high speed. Most his overtakes were real, against cars with same tyres as him. Damage limitation does not get better than this.

19

It’s clear you’re an Alonso fan QT. I don’t think anyone is surprised that you would vote for Alonso.

Alonso drove really well, there’s no doubt. But he had a car that would’ve qualified P3 at worst, so it was expected that he would come up through the field. He had problems in practice, but those one’s didn’t harm him too much (i.e. no grid places lost). Alonso hasn’t had to change out a gearbox to date, whereas Webber’s had at least two if not three!

Perez’s drive has to be recognized, also b/c of the disparity in resources between Ferrari and Sauber, in terms of real-time strategy management.

20

He wasnt stuck behind Vettel he couldnt overtake him early enuff dats all

21

Hi James,

I am not sure if anybody else noticed it but while LH waiting in the room for podium, he pointed his helmet andshow the red portion. Also I noticed he talked a bit italian on the podium conference and complimented the Ferrari Tifosi.

Do you think this is an indication of him may be moving to Ferrari next year?

Also this will explain the team and LH problems.

What do you think ?

22

Isn’t red also a McLaren colour? They wear “rocket red” t-shirts when they win afterall…

23

I just think he was very proud to finally win at Monza. He’s always said how much he wants to with there, and I *think* it’s the last on his list of ‘all time classics’ that he wanted to win?

24

No, he was trying to show he’s into the Italians

25

Ricciardo had a very good result too until his car failed on the very last corner. He was running in 10th.

26

not my driver of the day, but if reports were accurate that Jerome had no KERS for the race, it seems to me he really DID step up to the plate! nobody can assume he may not have run the tires off the car or run off the road due to faster speed, but consider this: with KERS, he potentially coulda finished in 10’th spot merely .3sec a lap slower than Kimi!

he never impressed in previous series. he only raced for 1 season in F1. he never got to race on Monza last year due to mechanical failure. he merely got to drive a what (?) for 1 year?

I think he can hold his head high with a great big smile. Lotus needs to commend his contribution and acknowledge their failure.

Jerome will never be a WDC, but he is a racer who deserves a spot on the F1 grid!!!

awesome job, dude!!!

27

James, please what is your hunch in regards to Hamilton. Do you think he may be on the move? And what about Schumacher? I though you were certain he was staying put for 2013!

Thanks.

28

Perez then day light people ! He passed Both Ferraris both of which were faster in Quali and both Started ahead of him NUFF SAID!

Special mention for Lewis “cruising” drive. Kimis fighting drive in a very slow Lotus and Long run ( 35 laps) on hards.

29

Hi James

Isnt it funny how last week Sunday Red Bull were celebrating Alonso’s failure to score points!

Over the past few weeks Horner and Marko had alot to say about how Alonso was due a bad race and last week it seemed their wish come true!

Well well look who was next in the que to have a bad race!

Next time that moron Marco should think a little before he shoots his mouth!

With every failure Red Bull seem to be getting more sour and its starting 2 look pathetic!

The engine maps and front ride height saga seem like they were more an act of desperation rather then been inovative or reading the rules better then any1 else!

It reeks of a team desperate to hang on to glory!

Adrian Newey is loosing his effectiveness!

His always been good around rule changes like in 1998 however just like then his edge didnt last long!He is good theres no doubt but ppl seem to forget he hadnt designed and built a championship winning car for 11 years between 2000 and 2010.

Red Bull are a team struggling to cope with losing and thats their biggest weakness.

More then that its evident for world to see they struggling to deal with it!

Red Bull have had 3 good yrs particularly the past 2 but they not all they made out to be!

Even with Adrian Newey there should they loose Vettel their days of been a front running team will most likely be over.

Red Bull need Vettel much much more then Mclaren need Hamilton!

There young driver program is a flop!

They spend millions running a junior team and spend afew more millions sponsoring young drivers and yet if look @ 2012 non of the top young talents are linked to Red Bull!

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenburg, Paul DeResta are all future stars and yet non of them belong too or came from Red Bulls young driver program?

Although they probly would but they cant claim to have found Vettel either because BMW did!BMW gave Vettel his first break to be a friday test driver BMW gave him is first chance GP and a chance to collect his first points!

BMW let Vettel go because at the time they most likely felt Kubica was going to be better

and because he never did drive a race winning car (1 win doesnt count) I guess the world will never know if they were right.

all those millions and there young driver program has nothing to show for!

Vergne and Recardo are looking like drivers heading for the same path as the drivers they replaced.

the next 24 months will tell us whether Red Bull truely are 1 of the Big 3 or nothing more then a stepping stone on Vettels path to greatness.

30

+1 lol.

Button also shot himself in the foot. Early 2012 he dismissed Alonso as title contender. Now see who’s on the back foot? LOL.

Karma just has a way of giving the person who cursed a dose of his own medicine.

31

lol its amazing what a big head Button has these for sum1 who has so little talent.

The first 7 or 8 yrs of his career he was rubbish!He was given away by williams and got regularly beaten by his team mates!Mclaren & Ferrari couldnt care that he even existed and by the end of 2007 he was so rubbish he didnt even deserve a place in F1!

Just because he got lucky in 2008 he now thinks his sum1 special!

Not only did Ross Brawn save his career he made him a world champion and what did button do? Stabbed Ross in the back @ the first chance and ran off to Mclaren.

If Ross didnt keep Button on in 2008 his career would have been over.

Anyways his title isnt worth the paper its writtin on.

His probly the worst world champion of all time.

I look forward to the day that useless annoying prick finally leaves F1.

32

Don’t like RB much?

33

I believe that RBR put their KERS battery next to the gear box, causing overheating and subsequent failures. Lotus have had a run of KERS related problems; are they employing the same technique?

Ps Perez for DOTD

34

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Button hadn’t had mechanical issues. Would Alonso and Perez have caught him I ownder? Perez was flying at the end. Superb tactics by Sauber.

35

Oh you British fans, how can you say you aren’t prejudiced against Vettel? Last week at Spa Vettel came from 12th (after the start) to 2nd and he got so little votes from you, compared to the number Button, who lead from front and was faultless, was given. This week for Monza Sergio Perez gets 60% of your votes (undoubtably deserved) for an effort you could in some ways compare to Vettel’s at Spa. But more interestingly, Hamilton who led from front and was faultless (like Button did last week) has got LESS votes than Alonso, who made up places pretty much as Vettel did last week. And you say you are not prejudiced…

36

Well, taking people off track and not admitting wrongs, calling other cucumbers and stealing your teammates parts isn’t exactly the best way to go about creating a fan base, let alone making friends. So not surprising really.

37

100% spot on. Let’s try and be unbiased when judging ay?

38

Totally agree, Vettel was robbed of DOTD last week.

39

I’m a big Lewis fan, and have even warmed to Fernando this season (easily the best overall driver this season), but yesterday? Perez stole the show.

40

I think the order you have them James (Ham, Per, Alo, Mas, Rai, MSc) is the correct one.

41

Perez drove great for sure, but I think the real mover and winner was Alonso 10th to 3rd was no less impressive than Perez’s 12th to second if you consider Perez had a tyre advantage and Alonso started on the back foot.

However, Perez did drive great and did all he had to do to light up his career and provide us with some excitement.

Alonso gets my vote.

42

Dis comments continue to sound irrational the more I see it what people miss out is the fact that at the beginning Perez was able to match the race leaders on the slower tyres on ful tank but people failed to notice this early on.

43

No, what you are missing is that Perez didn’t start in the top ten and so had the luxury of a new set of UNUSED tyres, this is considered a tyre advantage. He ran longer on his newer tyres and had a shorter stint at the end in which he was on soft tyres and thus had a lot more grip and hence speed.

While Perez did drive very well, it was more strategy helping him than actual race speed/skill over anyone else. He is without a doubt a precocious talent in the making, but it is my opinion that Alonso’s race was better.

If Alonso had finished anywhere worse than 3rd I doubt I would have been giving him my vote. But it was obvious that he was cutting through the traffic early in the race when it mattered.

44

Driver of the day – Pastor Maldonado

For managing to keep his car in once piece, not coliding with another driver, or being under investigation and…

…oh wait a minute he still didnt score any points!

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